In the midst of the Great Depression, Abilene Tucker's father sends her to live in the town of his youth, Manifest, Kansas. Abilene immediately begins searching for stories of her father or signs of his time in the town. Although she is disappointed in her search for her father's stories, Abilene finds that Manifest is full of secrets and a past that many choose to keep hidden. Through the stories of Miss Sadie, the town's Hungarian diviner, old newspaper articles, and a collection of old letters, Abilene pieces together that secret past. In the process of revealing and sharing that story, Abilene helps the citizens of Manifest heal and grow closer together. She also helps her father and herself.
Clare Vanderpool's clever story gives insights into both the World War I time period and the Great Depression. She introduces a strong heroine and an endearing town, filled with intriguing characters and mystery. This is an interesting story for mature child readers (9 or older) and is a good introduction into important times in American history. This book also teaches good lessons about the power of community and the importance of accepting differences.